Standards for Design: Part 32 – Active Learning Course Tools

Welcome to the thirty-second blog post in a forty-four week series walking through and explaining the Quality Matters standards.

This is the second standard in the sixth general standard of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Quality MattersTM Higher Education Rubric focusing on Course Technology. This post continues our discussion about technology used in the online or hybrid course and how they relate to the idea of Alignment to the Learning Objectives.

Standard: 6.2 Course tools promote learner engagement and active learning.

Now that we have picked out the tools that we are going to use to align us to the Learning Objectives, it is important to make sure that these tools will keep the students engaged.

I really like this 4:18 YouTube video from S.L. Young on Active Learning vs. Passive Learning.

The techniques he talks about focuses on the Face-to-Face classroom environment. However, the idea of active learning is also very applicable to the online environment. The main idea is that the course should not be strictly a recorded lecture, but should also include ways to engage your students.

This doesn’t mean that you always need to include a discussion forum. How about creating self-checks throughout the course so students can gauge their own progress? Self-Checks can take the form of a quiz, a reflection blog post, or simply a question that a student needs to internalize.

Or, what about presenting students with a simulation. Let the students go through the simulation that has consequences and have students reflect about those decisions.

Those are just a few ideas to have your students not only take in the information, but also actively participate in the online course.

Contact The Ohio State University Quality Matter Coordinator, Tim Lombardo at to learn more about Quality Matters and learn more how OSU faculty and staff can be compensated for the cost of training through the ODEE Quality Matters Grants.

All Quality Matters related ODEE Distance Education blog posts can be found at the Quality Matters category of the ODEE Distance Education Blog


Adapted from the Fifth Edition, 2014 Quality MattersTM Rubric © by The Ohio State University

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